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Day 31- March 17, 2009

<strong>TRANSPORTATION</strong>It was always anticipated that transportation would be a big issue in the 2009 session.  First, the Senate and house revealed two different approaches to funding the State’s transportation needs- the Senate with a transportation special local option sales tax or T-SPLOST and the House with a statewide 1% sales tax.  Then Governor Sonny Perdue announced his plans to reorganize the State’s transportation agencies. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards has the latest on transportation initiatives.<strong>TAXES</strong>Always an important issue, tax proposals have gained an even higher profile during these troubled economic times.  We’ll have updates on some of the tax-related legislation that is making its way through the legislative process.  Senate Bill 83 would have doubled the homestead exemption from $2,000 to $4,000, but failed to pass the House. House Bill 143 preserves the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant, or HTRG, in years when the State experiences a surplus.  That legislation has already been signed by Governor Perdue.  House Bill 481 would exempt business inventory from ad valorem taxes.  That legislation is currently in Senate committee. <strong>TRAUMA</strong>Everyone seems to agree that Georgia needs a statewide trauma network but no one seems to agree on exactly how to fund such an undertaking.  A $10 car tag fee has been proposed, as well as House Bill 160, known as the “Super Speeder” legislation.  That bill would add about $200 to a speeding ticket with the violator is driving in excess of 85 MPH on a highway or 75 MPH on a two lane road.  <strong>TEACHERS</strong>Almost two-thirds of Georgia’s state budget goes to fund education, so, it’s no surprise that educators are the subject of a great many proposals before the General Assembly.  Our review will include Senate Bill 93, a proposal backed by Governor Perdue that would have provided $10,000 bonuses to principals in high performing schools; House Bill 243, which repeals the salary increase for National Board Certified teachers; House Bill 280 which provides for additional compensation for highly qualified math and science teachers and information about budget cuts that would eliminate the school nurse program.Lawmakers’ Nwandi Lawson takes a look at some of the legislation that <strong>failed to pass</strong> out of the chamber of its origination by legislative day 30, <strong>crossover day</strong>.  From measures that would have placed a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes or brought back the sales tax on groceries to generate revenue to a bill that would have required the use of safety belts in pickup trucks.Last week marked the end of eighth legislative week under the gold dome, a perfect time to check in with <strong>Tom Crawford</strong>, National Editor of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.capitolimpact.com" title="Capitol Impact">CapitolImpact.com</a>.  Nwandi talks with Tom about bills that passed on crossover day, including a measure that would eliminate the birthday tax on cars.The <strong>Public Service Commission</strong> gave Georgia Power the go-ahead for <strong>two new nuclear power plants</strong> today.  These power plants have been a hot topic in the General Assembly with the passage of the Georgia Nuclear Financing Act.  Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans has the details.<strong>JUST Georgia</strong>, an organization seeking justice for children and youth, held workshops today to educate members on how to contact their legislators about proposed <strong>revisions to Georgia’s juvenile justice code</strong>.  Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini attended a workshop and has that story.All that and more tonight on <strong>Lawmakers at 7 PM</strong>.Lawmakers repeats on <strong>GPB Radio at 8 PM tonight</strong> and tomorrow morning on <strong>GPB television at 5:30 AM</strong>. You can also watch a repeat of Lawmakers tomorrow morning on <strong>GPB Knowledge at 7 AM</strong>. GPB Knowledge is available to those with digital television receivers at .3 of your local GPB transmitter, for example 20.3 in Augusta, or 8.3 in Atlanta.

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7:30PGeorgia Greats

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The Storm (1920-1933)